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The murder of a 16-year-old cheerleader devastates a small town in Maine.

Joyce McLain

Joyce’s body was found in the woods


Joyce was an avid jogger

East Millinocket, Maine, was a peaceful mill town, where children played in the parks unsupervised, and most residents kept their doors unlocked.  But that sense of security was shattered on August 8, 1980.  On that day, Joyce McLain, a spirited and promising 16-year-old, was brutally murdered in the woods behind the high school soccer field.  For Nancy Deschaine, chairperson of the Justice for Joyce Committee, the unsolved murder of Joyce McLain is something she’ll never forget:

“It’s there all the time. There’s not a day that goes by that her name isn’t mentioned  mainly because she was such a bright, beautiful young girl, so talented.  She made such a mark on this town, that people just didn’t forget.”

Young men liked to hang out and drink nearby

Joyce McLain was the kind of teenager that would make any family, or any hometown, proud.  She displayed extraordinary musical talent at an early age, and later on played in the school orchestra and composed music of her own.  Joyce was an honor student, a cheerleader, and an officer of the student body.  According to her mother Pam, Joyce was popular and well-loved:

“Joyce’s mind was filled with thoughts of what kind of a future she was going to have.  She was heading into a new step in life.  She was getting her driver’s license.  She was going to turn 17-years-old.  She had a big party planned at the beach with a big band and lots of friends and family was going to be there. I believe that it was a growing up time.”

On Friday, August 8, 1980, Joyce went jogging at 7:30 in the evening.  That Friday was the last time Joyce was seen alive.  Two days later, Peter Larlee, one of the volunteers searching for Joyce, found her body in the woods behind the high school:

“I saw Joyce.  She wasn’t moving.  Her body, I think had been beaten.  I knew that she wasn’t alive.  I started screaming her name.  After that I turned and ran home and called the police… that’s really hurting.  I never expected what happened at all.”

No one knows exactly what events led up to the death of Joyce McLain.  According to Detective Barry Shuman of the Maine State Police, Joyce was last seen jogging towards the soccer field:

“Joyce had a route that took her out around the town and behind Skank High School.  And the last time she was seen is turning the corner going down to the softball field and the soccer field where she usually did a number of laps.  We have witnesses that say this happened roughly between quarter of 8:00 and 8:00 o’clock in the evening.”

Did the young men attack Joyce as she ran by?

The field was a popular hang out.  One theory is that some locals were drinking there and began harassing Joyce.  They may have forced Joyce into the woods intending to rape her. Instead, it ended in murder.  A second theory is that Joyce was attacked by one or more workers from the local paper mill.  Three hundred laborers, who were not local residents, had just been hired.  But after intense investigation, the case remains unsolved.  For her sister, Wendy, and the rest of the town, Joyce McLain’s untimely death continues to be painful:

“Before she was murdered, all of us kids would all go out, walking… on the street.  And after she was murdered, it all changed.  The parents were real you know, where are you going, what time are you going to be home.  And people never even locked their doors around here.  People started locking up their houses.  And I mean everybody was just in a panic.  It was something you least expect around here.”


On March 4, 2016, Philip Scott Fournier of East Millinocket was arrested and charged with Joyce’s murder.  At the time, Fournier was 19 years old and on the night of the murder he reportedly stole an oil truck and crashed it into another vehicle.  In 2008, Joyce’s body was exhumed and the new evidence found helped lead to Fournier’s arrest. The trial lasted a little more than two weeks, and on February 22, 2018, Fournier was found guilty of Joyce’s murder. 

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu


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  1. Amazing Maine

    SOLVED – “This is the end.”


    Spent a lot of my childhood in the area of this case….happy for the end, as much as one can be in a case like this.


  2. Adrian

    Pretty awesome this case was finally solved. I feel like it has been solvable for some time.


  3. rob main

    please kkep updated on joyce maclean here


  4. Anonymous

    please keep me up to date on this story rob main winnipeg. robbmain@hotmail.com


  5. Lorrie

    In one article I read about Joyce McLain it said there were no signs of sexual abuse found on her, Fournier said he tried to have sex with her and also she was found with all her clothes off except for her socks and shoes being on.There would have to be sexual abuse found based on these facts alone…???


  6. Michelle

    This Leroy Spearing guy seems like he might be involved in Joyce’s murder too.He was hanging around with Fournier drinking whiskey nearby where Joyce was jogging. It seems more likely that the two of them did this and not just Fournier. Does anyone else agree?


  7. Mary

    What about the other guys that Fournier mentioned were involved.they have had their freedom for far too long,it is so unfair.I personally think more were involved than just Fournir. Do they still do lie detector tests these days? There has to be someway to get all the exact details as to all that participated in this horrible senseless act of violence. Fournier needs to come clean and tell all. Is this other guy, Leroy Speain involved in this? Sure as hell sounds like it was him and Fournier to me.


  8. Lisa

    I just seen this episode again on tv (4/5/16) and they did not announce that there has been an arrest, they have the case as still open, although it shows here its closed, they need to update the show as well.


    • unsolved

      Hi Lisa – unfortunately getting the updates on tv can take a while, but we do have this case on the list. Thank you!


  9. bill torrey

    the cops talked to the guy 26 times over the years. he confessed to many people including his mother and pastors and teachers. i guess they all helped him by keeping it secret. the whole town holds blame for this crime. it’s a sick little town in the middle of the state. the rest of us have agonized over the years not knowing it was a sicko from her homedown. i am so sorry joyce for the men who did this to you. you are stilled loved. i have 4 daughters myself and worry about a world that won’t even report a killing. his mother must be proud tho she is as sick as he is. what a poor excuse for a town to live in. what a bunch of stupid cops…….


  10. Johnny

    Happy to hear an arrest has been made. Justice for Joyce! Thanks to the Unsolved Mystery fans and the Unsolved Mysteries Show for keeping this case alive. I would hate to be this Philip guy because that Maine community loved Joyce and will be very angry at his trial. They might need additional security. Like many fans of the show, Joyce’s death stayed with me as many of these unsolved crimes do. Congrats to all the detectives and law enforcement for their hundreds of hours dedicated to finding Joyce murderer.


  11. joann gilbert

    Someone needs to urge scott fourniers mother to have her son to confess after all these years. Police need to offer scott some kind of plea deal to confess who else was involved. He musst not walk this time! 35 years of freedom was more than he ever deserved. More than joyce ever had. We want justice for that child!


  12. Robert

    • Rick James

      Case should have been solved years ago. The police butchered this investigation. Yes, Pam McClain should be mad at Fournier for taking the life of her daughter. But she should also be mad at the Maine State Police for the horrible work they did on this case.


  13. Questing54

    We got him!


  14. Lynn gary

  15. Stephanie bell

    They made a arrest of one of the monsters today thank you Jesús


  16. Scott McAvoy

    Arrest made an hour go…fellow town resident and Schenck alum, Scott Fournier was charged with murder. 3/4/16


  17. Johnny

    It’s a shame Joyce couldn’t find a friend to jog with in the evening. Probably would still be alive. A beautiful young life extinguished. I’ve seen so many cases with people dying young. My guess the person was rejected by Joyce and knew about her jogging routine. He probably was filled with jealousy and lust for her. Jumped out of the woods and caught Joyce by surprise. This similar to the Moxley case. It was a sexually motivated crime ending in murder. Best way to solve the case:Investigate students in her high school from that time and new DNA techniques could solve this case. I can’t believe almost 36 years and no justice for Joyce. I have a sister who was younger than Joyce by 5 years and I remember when they aired the show. Very sad case. There’s somebody who knows something.


  18. Cathy



  19. Diane

    This was such a sad case. Such a pretty and popular girl. I personally think it was some teenage guys that knew her and things got out of hand during an attempted sexual assault and they probably all were sworn to secrecy.


  20. Anonymous

    Did her mother ever get the body exhumed and tested for DNA?


  21. Mary

    Think those guys that are standing by the gate in front of her did this to her ,makes sense because they seem to be the last ones to have seen her alive.’


  22. Alan

    I think that it was someone that was rejected by her. The show days that she was basically a girl that was liked by many. And that means it could have been a guy that was rejected or a jealous girl.


    • Angel

      I’m thinking it was a young male around her age maybe 2 years older..


    • Stephanie

      Yes I believe it was someone who rejected her and hopefully this family can get some peace….my Mommah always told me this horror story since she was in the class of 85 ….it affected her for sure


  23. lord rob main

    have they solved it.